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Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite
Meditations for Modern Man: Wisdom From your Father by Michael W Cook, a retired Air Force major, is a collection of “maxims” that echo Marcus Aurelius Antonius’ (reigned 161-180 AD) sayings for his son. Mr. Cook precedes his volume by quoting G.K. Chesterton’s comments on the subject of opinion-forming. Cook then warns the reader that he/she might be “triggered” by some content or other in the book. Then in his introduction, he calls up John Adams’ quip that “facts are stubborn things.” Next, in his introduction, he says that many confusing arguments emerge from types of logical fallacies and goes on to list 15 such techniques designed to cloud our thinking. Finally, with the image of our often longings for parental wisdom, Cook goes on to present maxims for us to contemplate. He organizes his axioms under nine headings: Leadership, Morality, Logic, Facts, Liberty, Criticism, Character, Education, and Politics.
As I began to read these short sayings (one per page, a few longer than two sentences), I was reminded of Benjamin Franklin’s many proverbs. Some of Michael W Cook’s were easy to comprehend and hardly controversial, but as I went on, my head began to swim as if in Zen riddles. I discovered that I had better take each chapter at a time, followed by a significant break. It was difficult for me to apply some to specific, real situations. This contemplation time was, for me, the key to the pleasure of this book. Each maxim contained a wealth of consequences and will enhance our ability to navigate in a media intense world. Meditations for Modern Man: Wisdom From your Father by Michael W Cook is a worthwhile exercise in learning how to operate in our complex, politically challenging society.